Sculpting a way through lockdown (Video)

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Exhibition at Kirkby Art Gallery / Pic © Andrew Sherriff

Creatives across the UK are struggling to get work in their industry with pay being severely affected by the lockdown measures.

The latest recipients of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund were announced for arts and cultural organisations.

More than 1,300 will be receiving an allocation of the grant, such as Liverpool’s Cavern Club, to allow venues to plan for reopening and protect jobs.

Despite the government’s efforts to aid the arts and culture industry, they have been criticised for not helping freelancers and the self-employed.

In 2018, the UK’s creative industries contributed £111.7 billion to the economy. The then Minister of the Creative Industries Nigel Adams, said: “The creative industries encompass the best and brightest of the UK business and the figures paint a vibrant picture of creativity and talent in our country today.

“I would like to congratulate all those within the sector whose hard work and ingenuity means the industry is making a staggering contribution of nearly £13 million to the national economy every hour.”

Sculpture in progress during lockdown / Pic © Phillip Garrett

What a difference two years and a global pandemic makes.

Philip Garrett, a professional artist and sculptor, has worked in Liverpool for the past 10 years. He managed to receive funding from the government due to having a business premises, but admits “others have not been so lucky”.

Garrett was initially worried about his income after having multiple projects cancelled. An exhibition that was showcasing his work in Kirkby Art Gallery was cancelled just weeks before starting due to  lockdown.

He said: “That solo show would have been a really good opportunity to showcase my work in the region, but that opportunity was gone.

“Fortunately, I still got some money which had been agreed to put on the show.”

Arts and culture have been a huge part of peoples’ lives during lockdown. Many have taken the opportunity to get more creative with some citing mental health benefits.

Garrett said: “There are a number of people who have got creative during the lockdown painting and decorating, starting to garden, getting closer to nature by going on walks, growing vegetables.

“Other people have taken up things that they usually wouldn’t have time for in modern life. Perhaps some good has come from of it all as well”

JMU Journalism spoke with sculptor Philip Garrett on a Zoom call from Italy about his experiences in the pandemic and how he feels fortunate to have received a government grant. Watch our chat below>>>

About Toni Brown, JMU Journalism